MINNEAPOLIS — There will be no Weiner-style gatecrashing from Andrew Breitbart at the Netroots Nation conference here.
That is, unless Breitbart wants to pony up $355 for a ticket.
With the annual conservative Right Online conference just down the street from Netroots Nation, it was inevitable that some sort of shenanigan would occur in Minneapolis this week. And so it did, early Friday afternoon when Breitbart, camera crew in tow, showed up at Netroots unannounced and uncredentialed.
As he no doubt expected, the conservative blogger was immediately accosted by an angry progressive with a Flip cam when he stepped off the escalators at the Minneapolis Convention Center, where Netroots is being held.
The attendee yelled in Breitbart’s face, demanding he answer questions like “have you ever used cocaine?” and “why are you so fixated on gay magazines?”
Breitbart yelled back at the guy, refusing to answer. Eventually Breitbart’s security detail pulled him away and sent him toward the entrance to the conference. He was rebuffed by staffers, who denied him entry because he didn’t have a credential.
Netroots Nation staff told TPM that Breitbart will not be given a media credential, for fear that he’ll use it to disrupt the proceedings (which he likely would simply by his presence). But they said they wouldn’t deny Breitbart an attendee ticket purchased one.
Neither request — for a media badge or a attendee ticket — was made, however, as Breitbart fled the screaming Flip cam bearer into a service entrance and left the building. Netroots staff told security that no one without the conference’s trademark orange lanyard will be let in the building from here on out in the wake of Breitbart’s arrival.
So, what is it like to be in the middle of a Breitbart scrum at the premier progressive conference of the year? About as you’d expect: Every cellphone camera in the world is displayed while attendees yell curses at the man whose videos inaccurately cast Shirley Sherrod as a racist and website accurately exposed ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner as a man with a serious social media problem.
Breitbart seemed pretty thrilled, and the whole affair is likely to make it into his RightOnline speech later in the weekend.